Hard to believe but the stalwart in office productivity is 30 years old.

Microsoft Word is arguable the one piece of software that everyone either uses or is familiar with. It comes with Microsoft Office, and for legions of workers is the only reason to buy the suite.

But as this article in PCworld notes, cloud productivity suites and Apache’s free OpenOffice Writers are alternatives enterprises now have to the venerable word processor.

With an increasing number of mobile workers using only browser-based applications, Word is facing more competition.

On the other hand, the article quotes a Gartner analyst saying Word has a core set of capabilities users want, features they have become familiar with, and they don’t want to have to learn another application.

As a person who depends on a word processor with a spell checker to earn a living, I can see that. Shifting from an older version of Word to one that runs The Ribbon has been uncomfortable for me – where’s the Close Window button that used to be on the top right frame?

The other thing, of course, is that we text devotees must have a word processor that is compatible with the latest version of Word. Want to open a document with a .docx extension without trouble? If you’re on a deadline you don’t want to fumble around.

So Word will be with us for quite a while.

Read the full article here, and let us know what you think.